Entries for the ‘Job Seekers’ Category

Writing Your Resume to Get Noticed

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Just like any industry out there, resume writing is continuously changing and evolving. You are going to want to keep up with the newest trends in order to make sure your resume gets noticed by recruiters. Here are a couple of tips from the Protocall Group that you should keep in mind when you are writing your resume before you send it out to potential employers.   

  • Try to match wording in the job post: You have a better chance of getting selected for an interview if you use words on your resume that match the job qualifications. You can simply make a list of some of the qualifications an employer is looking for and include it multiple times throughout your resume. Many times your resume is sorted by a bot first, so this is an important tip to remember.  

 

  • Focus on including industry key terms: By including relevant industry key terms, whatever screening system the employer uses will be able to match your resume up and increase the chances you get selected for an interview. Say you are applying for a warehouse job, using key terms from your previous job as a receptionist will not be beneficial.

 

  • Don’t use too many words: Writing your resume is not the time to tell your life story. Keeping it simple and not wordy is one of the best ways to get your resume noticed. With a simple format, clean and basic font, and some bullets, you’ll be surprised to see how less is truly more when it comes to writing a resume.
  • Focus on accomplishments: Your resume isn’t the place for you to tell a potential employer what you did. Instead, employers are looking for you to tell how you helped the previous companies you have worked for. Focus on what you achieved not just what your responsibilities were.    

If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be on the right path to having your resume become noticed by recruiters and potential employers in the area. If you want to learn more tips and information on the employment process, check out the Protocall Group’s website for more information.

 

People Don’t Want to Be Hired By Algorithms

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The Protocall Group

November 2017
By Megan Purdy

frustrated job seeker

In a new Pew Research Center study, most respondents expressed anxiety rather than enthusiasm when asked about the growing importance of numerous automation technologies. When questioned about the growing use of algorithms in hiring decisions, 67% of the more than 4,000 Americans surveyed indicated that they were worried about a potential future in which “algorithms…make hiring decisions without any human involvement.”

Respondents showed the highest levels of anxiety when questions focused on decision making, not on tasks. (For example, they were more nervous about fully automated cars and less nervous about automated cars with drivers who can take control of them if necessary.) The problem doesn’t seem to be the use of algorithms and automation per se, but rather the elimination of “the human element from important decisions.”

Such anxiety is natural. Although many job seekers loathe the hiring process and dread interviews, most of them will acknowledge that an in-person meeting with a hiring manager is a great opportunity to make a positive impression–one that might overcome any real or perceived shortcomings in their resumes. It’s much harder to charm a computer algorithm, though, and for that reason some candidates are at a disadvantage in a hiring process that relies too heavily on algorithms for decision making.

But will companies turn to algorithms for all their recruitment and hiring decisions? That’s unlikely, because even though algorithms are increasingly finding their way into the human resources department, nobody can judge “human” factors–such as cultural fit and character–as well as an actual human can. Those things don’t come across quite so well in algorithm-derived data.

A more likely scenario is that companies will increasingly rely on robust ATS systems integrated with better search tools (such as Google for Jobs). The most difficult task in the hiring process isn’t making the final decision: it’s recruiting and sorting candidates at the start of the process. The biggest advantage to using algorithms in hiring is that they can do any initial, high-level ranking of candidates more efficiently and effectively than any human can. A closer evaluation of a small pool of candidates and courting the best ones are jobs for humans.

Algorithms offer another advantage: they can mitigate hiring managers’ unconscious biases and help an organization meet its diversity goals. Even when a company is aware of biases, it can be difficult to keep them top of mind throughout the hiring process. But an ATS system can track which candidates are in underrepresented groups and issue warnings when hiring managers fail to follow company policy.

Algorithms can help organizations meet their hiring goals, but they can’t help hiring managers say the right things, craft the right policies, or develop a better company culture. So although many people are excited about the prospect of putting the hiring process fully in the hands of algorithms, that goal isn’t likely to become a reality. For the foreseeable future, at least, nothing can take the place of the human touch.

 


A former recruiter and HR professional, Megan Purdy is the managing editor of the Workology website. She can be reached at megan@blogging4jobs.com.

 

About Protocall Group
The Protocall Group, established in 1965, is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across a wide variety of fields. They also offer innovative solutions to employers that help them lower staffing costs while increasing productivity

Inclusivity in Today’s Workplace

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The Protocall Group

November 2017
By Valerie Grubb

“Creating and managing a diverse workforce is a process, not a destination.”
—R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., Beyond Race and Gender

The Benefits of Inclusion

In a workshop I lead entitled “Inspiring a Collaborative and Respectful Work Environment,” I have participants split into groups and answer the following question:

“What are the benefits of a work environment in which diversity is valued, differences are respected, and staff members exhibit inclusive behavior?”

Most participants offer the same set of responses to this question: “increased creativity,” “improved problem-solving skills,” “a better reflection of our customer and client bases,” “a better representation of the population at large,” and “boosted morale” are just a few of the most common answers. Other benefits mentioned include improved retention rates, increased productivity, better customer relations, and reductions in employee complaints and grievances. In short, because greater diversity can lead to a better understanding of those one works for, with, and around, it can help companies increase their profitability.

My workshop attendees usually agree that these are all very compelling reasons to support diversity and inclusion, but they often have difficulty articulating exactly what it means to have an inclusive workplace. To help them reach this understanding, I point out that every person present is probably judged on a daily basis: the moment someone walks into a room, people make assumptions about that person based on his or her physical attributes. Then, to underscore this statement, I point to myself and say (with a sneer on my face):

  • “Her suit’s too dark and conservative for our company.”

  • “What’s with her hair? It looks a little crazy and all over the place.”

  • “Why doesn’t she have makeup on?” (Or “Boy, she has too much makeup on!”)

  • “Her voice is so deep–is she a man?”

  • “She has a funny accent.”

I then reveal that I know these things are said about me because I’ve read them in after-training surveys (where anonymity can encourage people to be brutal). When I ask my workshop participants how they would feel if someone said those things about them, they typically respond with sincere outrage.

The goal of this exercise is to draw attention to the fact that at any moment, someone is making judgments about people that have no relevance to their abilities to do their jobs. Everyone experiences being stereotyped and judged based on a variety of attributes and features (e.g., hairstyle, height, ethnicity) that differ from person to person. And although we are all different, we have one thing in common: at some point in each of our lives, we’ve all probably been judged based on our age and have encountered some (if not all) of the following statements:

  • “Too young.”

  • “Too old.”

  • “Not hip enough.”

  • “We want someone with more energy.”

  • “I don’t want to have to hold someone’s hand–I want someone with more experience.”

Sometime during our professional lives, we’ve probably all been judged and characterized without regard to our knowledge and abilities, because someone made decisions about us based solely on our physical attributes. The point of this workshop exercise is to get people to realize that this sort of thing happens all the time–and that it’s awful to be on the receiving end of it. Once that realization sinks in, they understand how important it is to stop doing this sort of thing themselves in their own daily management practices.

Thanks to shifting economic realities and societal expectations, companies need to be more inclusive if they want to maximize their competitiveness in the marketplace. The message is clear: it’s time for managers (and employees) to stop instantly judging others based on their age or other physical characteristics.

Breaking Bad Habits

In his 2005 bestseller Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that people hold two levels of attitudes about ethnicity and gender:

“First of all, we have our conscious attitudes, this is what we choose to believe…[O]ur second level of attitude…[is] on an unconscious level–the immediate, automatic associations that tumble out before we’ve even had time to think.”

Harboring such associations (which also hold true for other physical traits, such as age) is a habit–something that people do repeatedly, usually from childhood. (After all, people’s attitudes toward different cultures and people are based in large part on their experiences while growing up.)

Habits can be hard to shake–but with effort, they can be altered. First, change your inner voice by becoming more aware of your thoughts when you first meet a person. What is the first association that goes through your mind? If it’s negative, figure out what would be a better (and more realistic) association to have. Repeat that process each time you meet new people who share similar traits. Practice by doing some people-watching on a busy street and running the new positive association through your mind as people walk by. Verbalizing such associations can also help solidify them in your mind. (Although, if you’re talking to yourself on a street corner in some cities, don’t be surprised if a police officer stops by to check on you!)

The key to breaking a bad habit is to notice when a negative thought goes through your mind about someone you meet and then immediately replace it with something positive. The more you practice awareness of your thoughts, the better control you will have over them–and eventually you will replace the old habit with a far more productive one.

 


 

Valerie M. Grubb of Val Grubb & Associates Ltd. (www.valgrubbandassociates.com) is an innovative and visionary operations leader with an exceptional ability to zero in on the systems, processes, and personnel issues that can hamper a company’s growth. Grubb regularly consults for mid-range companies wishing to expand and larger companies seeking efficiencies in back-office operations. She is the author of Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel (Greenleaf, 2015) and Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality (Wiley, 2016). She can be reached at vgrubb@valgrubbandassociates.com.

About Protocall Group
The Protocall Group, established in 1965, is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across a wide variety of fields. They also offer innovative solutions to employers that help them lower staffing costs while increasing productivity

 

Ask These 8 Questions to Fix Employee Turnover

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The Protocall Group

November 2017
By Ira Wolfe

Employee turnover is affecting every organization in every industry from Iowa to India, from California to China. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a small company or a multi-national, whether you’re selling food, clothes, and technology or providing healthcare to patients. Employee turnover is a growing problem.

That begs the question: Why do employees leave?

A quick Google search reveals nearly a million reasons, far too many to mention here. Unfortunately even the least-discriminating person can see that most are anecdotal and rhetoric. The culprit? Few managers (HR included) rarely, if ever, collect data other than going through the exercise of an obligatory exit interview. Even fewer mine the data after the fact. The solution becomes “pass the buck” or “hit-or-miss” tactics.

Finding solutions that work lies in asking the right questions, aggregating data, and then continuously analyzing it. Once a company takes a deep dark look into the data it has buried in employee files and spreadsheets, reducing employee turnover generally boils down to one of several common sources.

Bad SupervisorsBad Supervisors

Before you find yourself falling down rabbit holes and blaming your recruiters and HR department, it is realistic to consider the supervisor’s role. Topping nearly every survey and study of employee turnover is poor supervision. Research has proven time and again that employees don’t quit companies, they leave supervisors. If your organization is experiencing turnover, the first place to look is the supervisor.

Bad supervision evolves from a multitude of management sins. The most popular and undeniable cause of turnover is an interpersonal conflict between supervisor and employee–something in each person’s make-up just rubs the other person the wrong way. It could be attitude or communication style. It could be different approaches to work. Often times, neither party is wrong or right, good or bad; their styles just don’t work together…and the employee leaves voluntarily or involuntarily.

Interpersonal conflict is not always the cause.  Often it’s just mismanagement. Research consistently confirms that more than half of front-line supervisors fail due to poor management skills, often the result of little or no people-management training. Many front-line supervisors are hired based on past technical accomplishments but lack adequate experience or training managing teams and motivating other employees to complete projects. Internally, many workers are promoted to management as a reward for tenure and loyalty.  Both strategies are recipes for higher turnover and lower productivity.

To eliminate supervisors as a cause of turnover, you need to ask the following questions:

  • Has he or she received adequate training?

  • Does one supervisor have more or less turnover than another?

  • Is turnover high on one shift or in one location but good in another?

  • Does the supervisor have performance goals that include retention, turnover, and employee engagement?

To evaluate other potential causes of turnover, ask:

  • Are employees leaving after three to five years or during their first few months?

  • Are you providing Millennials and Generation Z enough opportunities to learn?

  • Are you providing Millennials and Generation X enough opportunities to advance?

  • Are your wages and benefits competitive?

(In other words, Is it a hiring, training, or retention problem?)

Higher turnover is a trend that will become more common in the future. As a result, HR and managers feel compelled to fill open positions quickly with less-qualified people to satisfy frustrated managers.

While employee turnover is impacting many organizations, especially hard hit are companies that have not experienced turnover in the past. For each Baby Boomer that leaves, it often takes multiple new hires to get the right fit.  It is not uncommon for a 20- or 30-year employee to be replaced with a millennial who tends to change jobs every two to three years.

Solving employee turnover has a lot of chicken-or-the-egg thinking in it. To be fair, there are other causes of employee turnover. Don’t make supervisors the catch-all scapegoat.

The best solution for employee turnover is a good hiring process and effective leadership development. It means placing the right employees on the right teams with the right managers. Likewise, equipping supervisors and managers with the right people management skills and resources is no longer optional and a just “nice-to-have,” but rather an essential for improving productivity and sustained business growth.

 


 

This article originally appeared on the Globoforce Blog.

Chuck Blakeman is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling business author, and world-renowned business advisor who built 10 businesses in seven industries on four continents, and now uses his experience to advise others. His company, Crankset Group, provides outcome-based mentoring and peer advisory for business leaders worldwide.

Lessons from the Harvey Weinstein Scandal

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The Protocall Group
November 2017
By Jennifer Craighead

lessons-for-HR

The allegations of outrageous conduct against former film studio executive Harvey Weinstein have dominated the news for more than two weeks. If the allegations are true, Weinstein represents the quintessential “superstar” harasser–the high earning, successful leader whose bad behavior is tolerated because of his perceived value to the corporation. More reports have surfaced that this theme appears to be more common than previously imagined.

Not only did Weinstein appear to have a reputation for sexual harassment, but it seems to have been a Hollywood inside joke for years that he’s routinely bullied employees, clients, and adversaries. It went far enough that the HBO Hollywood-set comedy “Entourage” modeled a crass, bullying producer character named “Harvey” after his well-known persona. No workplace is immune from bullies, and it is especially uncomfortable when those individuals are in a leadership role as Weinstein was. Common behaviors of the so-called “bully leader” may include:

  • Yelling

  • Name calling

  • Profanity

  • Throwing objects

  • Unwelcome physical contact

  • Making belittling comments

  • Criticizing employees in front of others

  • Isolating or freezing out individuals

  • Snide or rude remarks

  • Unreasonable demands or threats

  • Not sharing important information

  • Other general unprofessional behavior

Workplaces where there are significant power disparities are at risk for claims of harassment based on such behaviors.

According to the report of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace issued in June of 2016, there is a direct correlation between workplace civility and workplace harassment claims. Surprisingly, the EEOC found that traditional workplace harassment training–with its focus on legal standards and requirements–is inadequate in preventing workplace harassment claims. Rather, the EEOC report encouraged employers to take a holistic approach in addressing harassment. The EEOC underscored the need for buy-in from senior leadership if anti-harassment policies and programs are going to be successful. The report noted the need for leadership to emphasize a “culture of kindness” where bullying and uncivilized behavior is not tolerated. As part of that effort, the agency recommended customized training for employers focused on workplace civility.

The message from the EEOC is clear: employers can no longer tolerate the workplace bully or the “superstar harasser.” Weinstein’s reported leadership style should have been a red flag, but went unchecked. The Weinstein case should be a wake-up call to employers that bullying, incivility, and harassment have no place in the workplace.

 


 

Jennifer Craighead is a partner with Barley Snyder, a law firm based in central Pennsylvania with more than 80 attorneys practicing from seven offices located more than a dozen practice and industry areas More information about the firm can be found at www.barley.com.

About Protocall Group
The Protocall Group, established in 1965, is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across a wide variety of fields. They also offer innovative solutions to employers that help them lower staffing costs while increasing productivity

DOJ Vows Criminal Prosecution of Employee “No Poaching” Agreements 

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The Protocall Group

October 2017
By Jonathan Crotty

A few years ago, several Silicon Valley employers made news when they were accused of agreeing among themselves not to solicit each other’s programmers and software engineering employees. These employees are in high demand, and the alleged agreements were viewed as attempts to avoid salary battles as well as expenses involved in recruiting for employees who departed for another tech company.

Earlier this month, the federal Department of Justice reiterated comments made during the Obama administration with regard to its view of this behavior. The acting head of DOJ’s Antitrust Division reminded companies that these types of agreements constitute per se violations of federal antitrust laws and subject the companies and executives involved in such agreements to criminal prosecution. He noted that these agreements have the effect of illegally suppressing employee compensation by preventing them from leveraging their skills for higher wages.

 


 

Jonathan Crotty of  Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP has been a successful counselor and problem solver for large and small employers in the Carolinas and beyond for more than 20 years. He heads Parker Poe’s Employment & Benefits pr

How to Assess Your Company’s Onboarding Program

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The Protocall Group

October 2017
By Sharlyn Lauby

Regardless of what we call it, we know onboarding is the process new hires (or newly promoted employees) go through to become productive. The question is, do organizations know how well onboarding works for them? There’s only one way to find out the effectiveness of the company’s onboarding process: by conducting an assessment.

This article is designed to provide an outline for assessing your onboarding program. I hope you’ll bookmark this page for future reference and use it to regularly evaluate your program’s effectiveness.

employee-onboarding-best-practices

4 Steps for Assessing Your Onboarding Program

During a program assessment, there are four areas that organizations need to examine: objectives, content, employees, and managers. Let’s talk about each of them.

Remember goals and objectives. Companies need to ask themselves, “What’s the purpose of our onboarding program?” We’re not talking about the definition of onboarding here; the purpose of a company’s onboarding program might be a little different in each organization. A purpose could be to make new hires productive, may include a compliance component, or implement a socialization piece. The objective might also mention pre-boarding and orientation.

Organizations might want to consider reviewing program goals and objectives once a year. Make it a part of the budget development process in case you need to request resources to grow or improve the program.

Evaluate the content. Think about the program materials from two perspectives. First, is the content current? I am sometimes amazed that companies implement new policies and forget to update training programs as part of the roll-out. Companies should have a process in place so onboarding content doesn’t become outdated. Make sure that the person or department responsible for updating content is provided with the information they need. Second, review the content to ensure alignment between the program goals and the content. It doesn’t necessarily mean the content needs to be changed, but it could mean that the sequence does.

If you schedule onboarding sessions regularly, keeping the content current might not be an issue for you. But if you only conduct onboarding activities quarterly, it might make sense to build extra time into the program schedule for a content review prior to each time it’s delivered.

Survey employees. New hires have a fresh perspective on everything. This is a great opportunity for feedback. Ask employees if they feel the organization is making an investment in their future–onboarding should send that message.

I’m a fan of surveying new hires after orientation, after their introductory period, at six months, and at one year. You can use a combination of techniques such as online surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings. Find out if employees feel they are getting the information they need at the moment they need it. Onboarding isn’t supposed to be a surprise. Companies might want to provide new hires with an onboarding roadmap to set expectations.

Survey managers. Trust me, managers have an opinion about the onboarding process. They have a first impression of the new hire when they arrive to the department after orientation. Is the employee excited and enthused or deflated? Managers will also have some insights about the new hire’s performance after their introductory period.

Find time to have regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with managers to talk about talent. This conversation should focus on recruiting, onboarding, training, etc. Ask managers if they feel employees are coming to the department prepared. Share with them a copy of the employee’s onboarding roadmap–they should know the contents and support it. And speaking of support, make sure that managers have all the resources they need to continue the process after company orientation. Ask what help or assistance they need from HR.

Regular Reviews of Onboarding Keep the Program at its Best

Even though I included the word “assessment” in this article, I know sometimes labeling something an assessment can be a negative. These activities don’t have to be labeled “assessments;” just make it a practice. The organization wants to know that onboarding is doing what it’s supposed to do, because getting it right means employees are set up for success.

 


 

Sharlyn Lauby is the author of HR Bartender (www.hrbartender.com), a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. This article was reprinted with permission from SilkRoad (http://www.silkroad.com/), a global leader in Talent Activation. You can connect with them on Twitter at @SilkRoadTweets and @HRBartender.


About Protocall Group
The Protocall Group, established in 1965, is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across a wide variety of fields. They also offer innovative solutions to employers that help them lower staffing costs while increasing productivity.

Dump Your Performance Reviews

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The Protocall Group

performance-review

October 2017
By Chuck Blakeman

Managers rate performance reviews right behind firing someone as their top two most disliked activities. How bizarre is that? Giving constructive feedback, mentoring, training, and improving the performance of their staff should be their number one motivation.

Staff members hate them, too. They dislike that managers delay and avoid performance reviews and feel they are paternalistic, controlling, and at odds with taking personal initiative and designing your future in a company.

The forms are also often considered a joke, rating people on such ambiguous things as “excellent performance,” “exhibits enthusiasm,” and “takes initiative.”

It makes no sense that a person’s compensation and future in a company can be tied so directly to an activity nobody wants to do. In the “participation age,” great companies are adopting systems such as peer recognition surveys.

Peers Get It Right More Often Than Managers

Who knows my performance best? My peers. When I was young, I worked in a situation with 10 people doing the same job. Four of us were extremely productive, another four were doing just fine, and two were holding the rest of us back.

We complained to the manager, but one of the two was the manager’s friend while the other one was family–so the manager had no motivation to fix the situation. I always felt that if the 10 of us were able to rate each other, those two slackers would have either been voted off the island immediately or, more likely, would have stepped up their game because they knew that even if they could fool their manager, they couldn’t fool their peers.

To solve this discrepancy, our company replaced reviews with bi-monthly peer recognition surveys. Each team designed its own survey based on our values, vision, mission, and the team’s process and required results. Every other month, everyone on the team gave an anonymous rating of themselves and everyone else on the team. Each team also rated the teams (not the individuals on those teams) that impact their work. We used those ratings for everything from adding responsibilities to training as well as paying out incentives. We emphasized “catching people doing something right,” which is not often the emphasis for feedback.

This may sound like a bridge too far for some companies, so here are three principles that you can use to design something more effective than annual reviews:

  • Peer feedback: Per my shared personal experience, managers never know as much about how team members are performing–or how they could improve–as their peers do. One of our clients, Illuminate Education (IE), with 200 staff members has each team design their own reviews based on the values, vision, and mission of IE, including each team’s process and required results. Then each person picks three people in the company they feel know them the best and those peers complete the review. A team lead can still have input, but this peer-led review system has proven much more effective. The proof is in the pudding–IE is the #2 Best Place to Work on Glassdoor, and has exponentially lower staff turnover than other companies in their industry.

  • Timely feedback: If you’re going to wait six to 12 months to give strategic, constructive feedback, don’t bother–it doesn’t work. Our surveys are bi-monthly and it’s hard enough to remember what went on over the last two months. Think about it:  you’re telling me I need to take more initiative, be more decisive, or act more quickly, then you’re going to wait twelve more months to rate me on my response. The research shows this approach clearly doesn’t work.

  • Specific feedback: This is where annual reviews fail most visibly and comically. Classic rating topics like “takes initiative” and “demonstrates a positive attitude” are absurdly broad, unhelpful ratings. Annual reviews also typically include fuzzy dialogue questions such as, “What do you think went well this year?” It’s understandable why we take such a broad, sweeping, and vague approach. We’re attempting the impossible–to review twelve months of productivity, teamwork, discretionary effort, growth, and initiative in one sweeping, ineffective motion.

So whatever approach you decide to replace current annual reviews with, make sure it includes timely feedback, specific feedback, and an overwhelming dose of peer participation.

By every measure, traditional reviews simply don’t work. Take the above three principles and let your teams design a better way to get feedback. Let’s re-humanize the workplace by giving everyone their brain back, and let staff review themselves. You’ll be surprised at the increased engagement, higher retention, and higher happiness scores. After all, peers know best how peers are doing, and can offer the best feedback and mentoring.

 


 

This article originally appeared on the Globoforce Blog.

Chuck Blakeman is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling business author, and world-renowned business advisor who built 10 businesses in seven industries on four continents, and now uses his experience to advise others. His company, Crankset Group, provides outcome-based mentoring and peer advisory for business leaders worldwide.


 

About Protocall Group
The Protocall Group, established in 1965, is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across a wide variety of fields. They also offer innovative solutions to employers that help them lower staffing costs while increasing productivity.

Do’s & Don’ts of Workplace Monitoring

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The Protocall Group

 

October 2017
By Janice Pintar, JD 

Many employers want to be able to monitor their employees’ communications–including phone calls, emails, and instant messages–with or without notice. Some employees may want to secretly record unsafe working conditions or harassing behavior. However, both employers and employees have an interest in workplace privacy and confidentiality.

Given the ease in which employers can monitor employees’ use of computers along with the ubiquitous nature of cell phones allowing employees to record conversations or take photographs with the tap of a finger, what limitations–if any–should be placed on workplace monitoring and recordings?

Employers wishing to monitor, record or videotape their employees

work computer monitoringEmployers may have very good reasons to monitor and record their employees’ communications or actions from security cameras to discourage theft to monitoring of phone calls to ensure quality. These days, most employees expect some type of workplace monitoring. In a Pew Research Center study, 54% of those surveyed indicated that it would be acceptable for their employer to install cameras to monitor the workplace and use the footage to measure employee attendance and performance following a series of workplace thefts.

Workplace monitoring is subject to various federal and state laws including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. That law does allow employers to monitor certain communications for legitimate business purposes–for example, to record employees’ incoming and outgoing calls in ordinary course of business. However, complications can arise if such monitoring or recording is non-compliant or infringes upon an employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Be transparent

Accordingly, any workplace monitoring should be conducted in an ethical and respectful manner and should be as transparent as possible. This means that employers who will be monitoring computer use should let their employees know in advance that they may be monitoring their computer use on company owned computers–for example, whether that use is professional or personal, and whether that use occurs during working times or break times.

Likewise, employers wishing to conduct video surveillance should let employees know in advance and should make sure that such surveillance occurs only in non-private workplace areas – where employees would not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. When challenged, if not regulated directly by state law, most courts will conduct an analysis of the employer’s legitimate need to conduct the surveillance as compared to employees’ reasonable expectation of privacy.

Employers wishing to place GPS devices on employer vehicles or to use “geotracking” apps on a cell phone to track an employee’s location should do so cautiously and must check their state’s law first, as the laws surrounding electronic tracking do vary. (For more information on electronic tracking in the workplace, see our recent article on this related topic).

Lack of transparency can cause legal headaches and erode employee morale. Accordingly, employers wishing to conduct workplace monitoring should draft and publish a policy in their employee handbook which outlines the type of monitoring that will be conducted. Employees don’t want to feel like “Big Brother” is watching them. This means that employers should also communicate their business reason for the surveillance they will conduct. Under no circumstances should workplace monitoring ever be done to harass or chill any employees from engaging in any federally protected rights.

Employers wishing to limit employees from audio or video recording in the workplace

Employers who wish to prohibit employees from surreptitiously recording workplace conversations must also consider state and federal laws. Recently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the National Labor Relations Board which found that an employer’s particular policy banning all audio and video recording without consent of a supervisor or all parties to the conversation violated employees’ Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Section 7 provides that employers may not interfere with employees’ rights to engage in protected, concerted activity to join together to improve the terms and conditions of their employment.

Notably, the decision stated that the ruling does not invalidate all employer rules regulating employee recordings, but instead provided that such policies should be narrowly drawn so that employees will reasonably understand that Section 7 activity is not being restricted. Other courts to have considered this issue in light of a Section 7 challenge have indicated that an overriding interest could also justify a ban. For example, one court upheld a ban on employees’ recording in a hospital where the hospital had an interest in protecting the privacy of its patients.

Even so, employees who secretly record unsafe working conditions or discrimination do have other workplace protections under other state and federal laws. For example, administrative review board decisions have found that employees who secretly recorded workplace conditions may be protected under various whistleblower laws including OSHA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Title VII.

Proceed with caution

Until more guidance is received, employers wishing to limit recording devices in the workplace should implement a policy which provides that employees are prohibited from using audio or visual recording devices in areas or instances where client privacy, trade secrets, or confidential business information may be compromised.

In addition, in states which prohibit individuals from recording conversations unless all parties to the conversation consent to the recording (so called “two party consent” states), employers may wish to reference such laws in their own policies to deter secret recordings, so long as employees understand that the company is not trying to deter any rights that the employees have to engage in protected, concerted activity.

 


Janice Pintar has extensive litigation experience in the field of employment law and was a plaintiff’s attorney for nearly 13 years before joining Associated Financial Group’s HR Consultants in 2015. She educates and advises human resources professionals and employers on a broad range of employment issues and best practices and costly litigation compliance topics including respectful workplace practices, unlawful harassment avoidance, wage and hour issues, medical leaves and accommodations, as well as federal and state discrimination and anti-retaliation issues. Pintar received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, magna cum laude, and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin, cum laude.


About Protocall Group
The Protocall Group, established in 1965, is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across a wide variety of fields. They also offer innovative solutions to employers that help them lower staffing costs while increasing productivity.

Job Search Got You Down? Try Industrial

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There are more ways for applicants to connect to potential employers than ever. In fact, there are so many ways that the job search can be quite daunting, especially if you are unsure what qualifications you may need or even what kind of field you would like.

That is where the Protocall Group comes in. It is easier than ever to apply to work for our many client companies. These companies span across an array of fields. We find that, more and more, applicants are applying for jobs in the industrial field. Specifically, we see many applications for warehouse positions.

Why industrial?

Industrial warehouse jobs may not sound immediately appealing to some, but there are a number of advantages to such positions.

Educational requirements

These kind of positions often do not require a bachelor’s degree. This makes it the perfect opportunity for those with high school educations to begin or continue their careers. Increasingly, employers are realizing that limiting applicants to those with college-level educations can be, well, limiting. No company wants to miss out on excellent associates that just do not happen to have a degree. As such, businesses with warehouses often care more about the work ethic and attitude of an employee than an extensive education.

Building careers

Starting in the warehouse of a company allows you to familiarize yourself with the most essential components of their business process. As such, you will develop an array of skills that will prove invaluable throughout your entire career. Learning about how a company handles inventory, shipping, logistics, and team management allows employees to develop a skillset that can help them rise through the ranks of an organization or boost their resume should they look for other opportunities.

 
The Protocall Group has been helping people’s careers blossom for over 50 years. We are passionate about matching talented employees with companies where they will be sure to grow and thrive. To apply for a warehouse job or to browse other open positions, visit us at http://protocallgroup.com/ today.